Patients cannot be left with doctors who have not cleared exams: SC says No to PG Exam Waiver, issues notice to NMC, Centre
New Delhi: Opining that the Court shouldn't intervene in matters related to educational policy, the Apex Court on Friday rejected the plea made by Post-graduate medical students seeking directions for waiving the final examination of the final year PG medical students. However, the Court has agreed to consider the other prayers of the doctors including their request for at least a...
New Delhi: Opining that the Court shouldn't intervene in matters related to educational policy, the Apex Court on Friday rejected the plea made by Post-graduate medical students seeking directions for waiving the final examination of the final year PG medical students.
However, the Court has agreed to consider the other prayers of the doctors including their request for at least a time period of one month to prepare for the examination. The Union of India and the National Medical Commission (NMC) have been issued notices in this regard by the Court.
Rejecting the plea, the Supreme Court vacation bench comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and MR Shah observed on Friday, "They will be treating patients. How can they be in hands of people who haven't cleared exams?"
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that challenging the earlier notifications by the National Medical Commission (NMC) advising the medical colleges to continue taking services of Post-graduate resident doctors and also asking the universities to decide on the time and date for conducting the final year examination, 29 doctors had approached the Supreme Court seeking directions for waiving the final examination of final year PG medical residents.
The plea moved by the PG resident doctors, who are pursuing postgraduate courses (MD/MS/DM/Diploma) in various disciplines of medical science, further sought promotions of the petitioners as senior residents and post-doctoral students as soon as the scheduled tenure completion of three or two years along with pay scale and other allowances. They have further sought directions for constituting a joint expert committee for examining and recommending the prayers of the petition and its recommendations.
Further highlighting the services provided by the PG resident doctors to tackle the pandemic, the plea had pointed out, "in the face of a pandemic like Covid-19, it is incumbent upon the Respondents, as their fundamental duty, to frame sustainable and effective policies, which looks after the interest of the postgraduate resident doctors who have given their everything in the fight against the pandemic."
As per the latest media report by Live Law, during the hearing on Friday, the counsel appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde submitted that even after the completion of their tenure of three years, the petitioner doctors were stuck due to the Covid-19 situation and are unable to leave until a fresh batch joins through entrance exams.
Pointing out that the doctors have been subjected to continuous internal evaluation for the past three years, he further urged to declare the doctors as qualified based on their internal assessment, considering the emergency situation.
"During the China war, PG students were allowed to be postgraduates even without an exam", he was quoted saying by Live Law.
He further submitted that the petitioners belong to different colleges and universities and they have come together to file the petition to see if something could be done regarding the matter, adding that even though the Apex medical education regulatory body, NMC, realizes the problem its hands are tied.
Following this, the Apex Court bench asked how the court could take a decision in this regard, adding that even though the Court could be able to consider a submission and suggestion regarding the arbitrariness of holding an examination on a particular date it was unable to say no to examination.
"It is a policy decision and it's also not in larger interest to waive the examination." Observed the Court.
"You are well aware of limitations of our power, and cases in which we exercise jurisdiction, only in exceptional cases were we find real arbitrariness and real prejudice," added the bench.
"These things come in realm of policies. Why should the Court even apply its mind to as to whether the exams should be held or not." Justice Banerjee was quoted saying by the daily.
The Court further expressed its concern regarding these doctors becoming senior residents and treating patients without clearing the examination and noted, "How can they be in hands of people who haven't cleared exams."
"We understand and know about what the Doctors are doing. But the question is, can we say 'No exams'?" noted the Bench.
Taking note of the disinclination of the court to waive the examination, the counsel for the petitioners said, "There are limitations on writ jurisdiction except in exceptional circumstances. This is not only an exceptional but also a calamitous circumstance," further urging the Court to ask the NMC if something could be done at all.
"The court need not say it. I'm asking the court to ask the authorities 'Can you do something?" submitted Mr. Hegde, the counsel for the petitioner, further adding that the Supreme Court had already postponed the INI CET examination and if a similar time could be given to the PG doctors as well.
He further submitted not to press upon the waiver on the examination and requested the Court to consider its other prayers.
"Prayer 1- I don't press it, please consider the other prayers. Please give us a month or same time as given to those entering Post graduation. This kind of delay has its own ramifications on us," he submitted.
Agreeing to this, the Apex Court vacation bench observed, "Mr. Hegde submits on instructions that petitioners will not press the First Prayer. Notice be given to Union of India and National Medical Commission."
The Court has listed the matter to be heard on next Friday.